Our wonderful October Gin of the Month box has landed with our members and they are already falling in love with this month’s offering!
We head back in time with Gin 1689 as the distillers of this spectacular gin dug through historic archives to find their recipe, recreating gin as it would have been more than 300 years ago, when William of Orange popularised it in England.
Authentic Dutch Dry Gin
Here at Craft Gin Club, we feel very fortunate to be living through the gin-aissance, a period of time where our favourite spirit seems to be going from strength to strength. From the boom of craft distillers to the masterful mixology of bartenders across the country, the world is only getting better for British gin lovers.
But this isn’t the first time in British history that gin has made headlines. In fact, way back in 1689, it was the toast of the town thanks to William of Orange, a Dutchman whose coronation as King of England made ‘Dutch courage’ the must-have tipple of the time.
Flash forward to 2019, and another Dutchman is seeking to take us back in time to where our favourite spirit started. Meet Alexander Janssens, the Amsterdamer who spent years digging through historic archives and private libraries to take gin lovers back to the beginning.
“I always thought about how cool it would be to have your own product,” he says. “Something that, at the end of the day, you can hold in your hands.”
But Alexander didn’t want to start a business for the sake of it. As he explains, “I thought: what’s my passion?”
His passion, as it turned out, was hunting through the annals of history for a centuries-old gin recipe. Gin came to him as he explored his Dutch identity, rooting around for the things that made him proudest to be from Holland.
In the process, he started thinking more and more about our favourite spirit: gin.
Whilst the world sees the G&T as a quintessentially British tipple, if you follow the story of gin all the way back to the beginning, you end up in very different climes: the canals and windmills of Holland!
Juniper, Dried Quince, Pippin Apple, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Clove
When William of Orange became king of England, bringing jenever with him, it made gin really popular. He then further encouraged sales of gin but shutting down imports of French wine and brandy, and giving tax cuts to anyone who wanted to distil their own spirits! In this way, a pint of gin became cheaper than a pint of beer, and combined with the fashion for all things Dutch, started a craze!
As such, gin is one of the most popular Dutch products of the last 300 years! To make the story even more enticing, some of the texts that Alexander uncovered made mention of a recipe – a centuries-old formula that had once been used by the Distillers Guild in London to craft one of the world’s very first pure gins.
Gin 1689 is definitely a juniper-led gin, but it has a breadiness and an aniseed note that you would get from jenever. It’s a classic flavour profile that presents in a very contemporary way.
This juniper-forward gin is classic on the nose, with an attractive floral, citrusy aroma and a faint hint of aniseed. On the palate, floral flavours are balanced by a lightly bready flavour with good piney juniper and nutty notes, with subtle spices of cloves, nutmeg and aniseed. A very well-balanced and smooth finish rounds out the sip.
Alexander, for his part, couldn’t be happier with the finished product, or more excited for Craft Gin Club members to taste the gin he spent 18 months hunting through the annuls of history to find. As he says, “In the UK, you can find some bars that are 500 years old. You sit at the bar with a gin and can’t help but think that 350 years ago, people were sitting at the same bar, drinking the same drink! It brings history back to life.”